Shoemaker Green Construction Underway

October 10, 2011

Construction has begun on Shoemaker Green, an $8 million open space project off 33rd Street between Franklin Field and the Palestra that will connect the central campus to the University’s new Penn Park. The 2.75-acre site was the former home to a tennis court complex, which has been relocated to Penn Park.

Sustainable design aspects will highlight the project, created by the landscape architectural firm of Andropogon Associates of Philadelphia. A rain garden, porous pavers, a cistern for rainwater reuse and silva cell tree trenches, and other green elements support the tenets of Penn’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for increasing campus green space and improving storm-water management for the campus and the city.

Classified as a grey field, or previously urbanized land, the site will make innovative use of new strategies and technologies to capture and control storm water from the green space itself.  The design calls for the planting of native species that will increase local biodiversity, while creating a new open space for the campus.  By replacing paved surfaces with landscaping, it will also help to reduce urban heat island effect.

As a new public commons area, the open center lawn of the project can adapt to a variety of uses, especially during special events such as commencement and the Penn Relays.  The lawn area is designed to accommodate large groups, and the surrounding secluded spots can be used for an outdoor class or quiet lunchtime respite.

Shoemaker Green was chosen as one of more than 150 pilot projects around the globe to test a new Sustainable Sites Initiative rating system for landscapes, anticipated to be analogous to the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building ratings.  SITES is the first set of national voluntary guidelines and performance benchmarks for the sustainable design, construction, and maintenance of landscapes.

The project is expected to be completed by Fall 2012.

For more information on Shoemaker Green, visit the Penn Connects website.


Penn’s undergraduate major in Environmental Studies was the first in the country in 1972.

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